1-on-1 with New Mexico State's Wendell McKines
Wendell McKines was a standout for New Mexico State but is now preparing for the NBA Draft. (btn.com)
By Michael Scotto
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Over the course of the college basketball season few players put up big numbers nearly every week and were consistent members of the "Star-Watching" column for the site. One player that was a model of consistency and featured in numerous "Star-Watching" articles was New Mexico State graduate Wendell McKines.
With graduation and his time at New Mexico State over, McKines is looking towards his future and the 2012 NBA Draft after having his best statistical season of his college career averaging nearly 19 points and 11 rebounds per game as a 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward.
I caught up with McKines to look back at his time at New Mexico State, his recent participation in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, and what the future holds for the former college star.
Q1. Michael Scotto: How did your time at New Mexico State help you grow as both a player on the court and a man off it?
A1. Wendell McKines: My time at New Mexico State helped me become a student of the game and gave me the passion to want to perfect my craft. Going into my senior year I was successful based on athleticism and toughness after my injury I rededicated myself to the game. New Mexico State has helped me as a man by slowing my life down and helping me realize what's important in life.
Q2. MS: How do you feel being a 5th year senior and at age 23 more ready than other players in this draft class to make an impact at the pro level?
A2. WM: feel as though I am better prepared to be a true professional with a degree in hand. I feel as though I am battle tested and would know my role on the team. Whatever my role may be I will embrace it and bring a positive energy to the team.
Q3. MS: What do you say to scouts that question your competition level in the WAC?
A3. WM: I would say that numbers don't lie. We have great players and coaches in our conference. They prepared as best as they could to slow me down as a team and I was still able to perform at a high level.
Q4. MS: You had the best year of your career as a senior, what clicked for you on the court this year that made you become so much improved?
A4. WM: The product you saw on the court this year came from hours in the gym in the offseason. It was my fifth year being apart of college basketball as well as playing in one system, so my comfort level was always high.
Q5. MS: What did going to the NCAA Tournament and having a good game there mean to you?
A5. WM: Going to the NCAA tournament meant a lot for not only me, but the team because of the national exposure and atmosphere around the city. I wanted to play well to prove that I could perform on that big of a stage as well as get the win. Indiana did a great job at limiting my touches and boxing me out as a team. We didn't play our best game either but all in all they deserved to win.
Q6. MS: You finished fifth in scoring and second in rebounding at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Can you reflect on your time in the tournament? What did it mean to you to play well against fellow seniors in the draft class?
A6. WM: Going into Portsmouth I just wanted to compete. The first two games I couldn't buy a jumper and kept forcing it. The last game I played more within myself and was successful. Playing well there definitely gave me more confidence as I continue this process. Off the court it was great to be amongst people with the same frame of mind as myself. Shout out to my roommate Alex Young from IUPUI.
Q7. MS: You mentioned your goal is to crack the 2nd round. Have you heard anything about your draft stock rising after the tournament?
A7. WM: I'm gaining more interest from teams and getting workouts set up. I feel as though once I'm consistently seen and giving a fair chance I will not be denied.
Q8. MS: Would you play pro ball overseas if you went undrafted?
A8. WM: If McDonald's isn't open, then you have to go to Burger King. I plan on getting in McDonald's even if I have to go to the drive-thru.
Q9. MS: Heading into workouts with teams what is your goal during these tryouts?
A9. WM: My goal during these tryouts is to play harder than everybody I compete against.
Q10. MS: What have you been doing to prepare yourself for the draft?
A10. WM: Initially I was working on isolation moves but I shifted my focus to getting in the best shape as possible.
Q11. MS: Do you have any team or preference where you'd like to play?
A11. WM: No preference, whatever team picks me I would appreciate them giving me a chance and embrace the opportunity.
Q12. MS: What skills can you bring to a pro team?
A12. WM: The skills that I bring are toughness, rebounding, and competitiveness at both ends of the floor.
Q13. MS: What skills can you improve to be a better player?
A13. WM: I can improve the consistency in my jumper as well as comfort level handling the basketball. Kobe, Carmelo, KD, and LeBron all get paid to score. I just have to be a threat.
Q14. MS: Is there anything you'd like to add for scouts or GM's that will read this article?
A14. WM: I just want them to look past the cover (which is my height). If David could go up against Goliath with a stone, then I could average at least eight rebounds and be productive at any level.
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